And it made me think, which is what I think was her purpose. But it also made me sad for her and her children. I don’t want anyone to be offended by this, but we can’t have misgivings for what we do for the good of our marriages and children, at least not from God’s perspective.
He gave us a husband to love and to help and to treasure. He gave us kids to raise to love Him. He gave us the supreme reward of being their mother. That’s no small feat. We get to grow them in our secret place. We get to feel their kicks and tracing fingers on the inside of our bellies. Dads never get that privilege.
God gave us his people to nurture and to educate and to most of all love. He trusts us mothers with his creation. He trusts that we will be the vessel through which our men’s hearts are softened and strengthened by our service to our Lord through our love.
The results of our work on this Earth are eternal. The diapers, the sleepless nights, the 4,857th “Mommy, I need you” we hear in one day are seeds of eternity.
Our kids learn to trust and love from us.
While I can absolutely relate to where the lady with misgivings about leaving her job was when she was 33, I can’t say I’m regretting the same decision. I’m seeing this as an opportunity to invest in my children and my marriage and myself.
And I do not for a second judge the woman who goes to work 12-15 hours a day to make a living for her family. I don’t think any working woman is wrong for what she does. I was a working mother out of necessity until recently. Often, it’s what we have to do. These women are heroes in my eyes and God’s eyes.
I personally may go back to work when my kids are older, but I may not. I’ll take it a year at a time and make meaningful choices in the activities I do to enhance my own life. I won’t let it bother me that my kids think I do nothing because that’s not a fair statement.
Moms do everything with our kids in mind, whether we work outside the home or not. We can’t help it. God made us the unsung heroes of our kids’ lives. It’s ingrained in us to be their protectors and nurturers. We may not always like the job description, but we were uniquely created for this role that includes:
- Being a child’s first life source. They depend on us to live inside and outside the womb.
- Teaching our kids the ins and outs of survival. Dads help with this, but Mom is chief boo-boo fixer and the only person on Earth patient enough to endure potty training and the supreme life skill of drinking without a lid.
- Being the warriors who fight for our kids’ hearts on our knees and in the flesh. We relive every argument, insult and tear right alongside our kids. Our hearts break in pain for them.
- Teaching the intricacies of sharing, caring and respect.
- Being the expert who can catalog the list of what everyone needs for a trip. (If you can find a dad who remembers the hydrocortisone and extra special Fluffy dog, please correct me.)
- Being the only parent willing to endure a host of bodily secretions without complaint and a look of utter shock. I know dads can handle them, but they just don’t come with the mental sturdiness to avoid the horror that is a blowout diaper.
- Being the only person who can endure your kids’ version of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” 47 times in a row.
But most of all, no one ever loves you like your mom loves you.
Being a mom is a lot of thankless work that will someday be rewarded. I sometimes live on that promise. I love the quote “This too shall pass” because it’s a promise from God in 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
But if we’re not careful, we can miss the rewards that are right in front of us – the gummy smiles, fat grubby, chubby fingers, spontaneous full knee hugs, seeing the pile of diapers pulled out of the diaper bag we just set down or blond baby curls. But most of all, we can miss the hearts we’re developing.
I watched the first in a video series yesterday at our homeschool program meeting on why the heart matters so much more than the behavior and subjects we teach. Paul Tripp, the speaker said, “We’re in a war for the hearts of our children.” He was talking to teachers.
But moms and dads are the primary teachers. We’re the ones who set the stage for the hearts of our children. We’re the ones who shape their perspectives and feed their hearts with love or hate. They watch every step we make and every word we say. They are reflections of us.
I recently had a conversation with my own mother about the contribution she made to her adult kids. She has 10 kids and six of us are grown and out of her house. She’s struggled with each of us beyond the home at some point in the past 15 years. I can see that she looks at herself often and wonders, “Did I do enough to set my child up for success in life?”
And I told her plainly, “Mom, you did what you knew how to do. You gave yourself to your family. It wasn’t perfect, but you gave us a good start. You prayed for us. You fought for us. You taught us right from wrong. You taught us how to respect ourselves and others. You taught us how to make tough choices. But you’re not the one who has to live with our choices, we are. You gave us the instructions and love only a mother can give. Now, it’s time for you to stop judging yourself. If there’s something you can change, change it. Otherwise, what’s done is done. It’s not worth looking back on with regret.”
That’s what I want to say to myself in 20 years when my kids have left the nest. I want to say the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”